1st January 2017
Hello there! For my 18th birthday, my parents AMAZINGLY surprised me with a trip to New York City because they’re, like, the best ever. I still can’t believe I’m saying this, but last week we jetted out to the Big Apple for what I can only describe as the most incredible week of my life. In my next few blog posts I’ll be sharing my experiences from NYC and giving you some top tips if you’re planning to visit, starting the only way I know how: with food.
America seems, as a general rule, to serve absolutely massive portions of just about anything you order, and we quickly discovered that three big meals a day in the city was way too much to handle. Yes, even I was beaten. New York, I love you, but you broke me. We took on a very relaxed approach, trying not to plan too much, and made sure to have a proper browse before settling for somewhere to eat. The following six restaurants and cafes are the best hidden gems that we managed to find in prime locations, though it goes without saying that the city is home to so many other great eateries too. If I could stay there forever and test out every bar, café and restaurant, I swear that I would, but the following places were my top picks from my short-but-sweet residency. Enjoy! (P.S: This blog post may make you feel very hungry)
Suprema Provisions (305 Bleecker Street)
Located in the gorgeous Greenwich Village, Suprema is the perfect lunch stop. After a walk around the bustling streets (which we reached via the abandoned railway track ‘Highline Walk’ – also lovely), this was exactly what we needed for a pick-me-up. Suprema is clearly influenced by European cuisine, with a menu inspired by Italian street food and Spanish tapas bars. I’d particularly recommend the sandwiches, with perfectly carved meat on a cracked ciabatta bread. I ordered the prosciutto and mozzarella sandwich, which was honestly one of the highlights of my trip. Suprema Provisions also has an expansive selection of alcohol behind the bar and an impressive cocktail menu for those legally able to drink in the United States. Yes, for my 18th birthday my parents took me to one of the only places in the world where I am not of the legal drinking age. Not that I'm complaining.
Magnolia Bakery (200 Columbus Avenue)
Located in various locations all over the city, Magnolia Bakery was recommended to me by almost everyone I spoke to about New York. We visited the famous bakery near Central Park and oooooh Lord, believe the hype. Cupcakes with just about every topping and every flavour imaginable lined the shelves, each one intricately decorated and demanding to be tasted. After much deliberation, I settled on a ‘caramel cupcake’ and a homemade lemonade (both delicious), though I will admit I also ate most of my dad’s carrot cake too. If you’re in New York and need a cupcake pit-stop, Magnolia Bakery should be your first port of call!
Le Pain Quotidien (85 Broad Street)
For a slightly smaller breakfast (trust me, after a few days in New York an ordinary portion size is greatly appreciated), Le Pain Quotidien is the place to be. We visited their location near Wall Street, which was frequented by local workers and visitors alike, for a quick breakfast stop before heading to the Brooklyn Bridge. I’m not being overdramatic, but I’d genuinely say that the waffle I had from LPQ was the best I’ve ever tasted. It was simply beautiful, and I’m told their homemade croissants are also brilliant. With a few locations around the city, this is a breakfast or lunch spot I’d recommend whole-heartedly.
Moon Rock Diner (313 West 37th Street)
Now for the biggest breakfast I’ve ever eaten. Moon Rock has just about every possible breakfast option, from omelettes or bacon to waffles and pancakes. I ordered a mango smoothie which, when it arrived, was actually bigger than my head… I’ve never had such an enormous drink, but it was greatly appreciated. Although this smoothie alone probably would have happily filled me up until lunch time, I then proceeded to order an ‘Avocado on Toast’, complete with two fried eggs, tomato and crispy potatoes. Again, this was absolutely massive when it arrived, but I tried my best to finish it. Though the portion sizes were like nothing I’d seen before, this felt like a proper New York breakfast. It was understandably very busy, but service was still relatively attentive and quick.
Obicá (928 Broadway)
On our way to the Empire State Building (as you do, obviously), we came across this lovely restaurant. Now, I don’t know if you know this about me, but I fricking LOVE mozzarella. Therefore, when I stumbled across a MOZZARELLA THEMED RESTAURANT (yes, you read that right), I was in my absolute element. I opted for a delicious prosciutto and mozzarella pizza (my all-time favourite pizza topping, might I add) and it was just like biting into heaven. I couldn’t actually finish this delight of a meal as it was such a big ol’ pizza, so of course I asked for a doggy-bag to take it back to our hotel with me. A mozzarella themed restaurant was never going to disappoint me really, so I am slightly biased, but this was such a great find in an excellent location: Broadway. I’d highly recommend.
Shake Shack (691 8th Avenue)
I’m not usually a fan of fast-food (not for any particular reason, I just don’t love it) but for Shake Shack I’ll make an exception. This is basically the Marks and Spencer's of fast food, and it’s nothing short of amazing. Again located all over the city, Shake Shack is home to an amazing selection of milkshakes and burgers, but a personal highlight has to be the crinkled ‘fries’ (with melted cheese on top if you’re really looking to push the boat out). When out for the day in the Big Apple, get your eyes on the fries and head down to a Shake Shack for a delicious yet quick and easy meal, whether you’re looking for a momentary rest or just want to eat on-the-go. When snooping the NYC tags on Instagram, I came across so many pictures of people’s Shake Shack meals that I simply had to try it out for myself and now I totally understand what the hype was all about. To give you an indication; when we arrived, there was a queue outside the door. I can, however, confirm that it really is as good as it looks!
If you’re planning a trip to New York, I hope these suggestions are useful and, if not, then I hope you enjoyed the pictures of such mouth-watering food! I’ll be back next week with a ‘What to Do in NYC’ guide, so stay tuned for that. To keep up with my adventures on a daily basis don’t forget to add my snapchat: jack_edwardss! Thank you very much for reading, I hope you have a lovely week and, until next time, goodbye!
By Jack Edwards